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Fighting Food Insecurity During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of gratitude, joy, and plenty of delicious foods. It is the time of gift-giving and celebrating with your loved ones, but for thousands of people in Dunn and Eau Claire counties, the holidays bring financial stress and worry. It can be a challenge to get in the holiday spirit if you’re concerned about where your next meal will come from or whether you can afford the extra meals for your kids while they’re home from school. According to Feeding America, nearly 9% of residents in our two counties are experiencing food insecurity. This means that a tenth of our local population does not regularly have enough money to purchase the minimum amount of food they need to survive. Most food-insecure folks in our area report needing just $50 more per month to be secure—something a lot of us likely take for granted.

The groups most affected by food insecurity during the holidays are children and seniors. Many kids rely on school lunches for at least one meal every day, which they don’t receive during school breaks. Seniors are also at a higher risk due to the high costs of medication, lower incomes, fewer benefits, and high utility bills. In addition to the costs, physically traveling to a pantry or free community meal isn’t always an option due to mobility issues or lack of assistance.

In Dunn and Eau Claire counties, community groups and nonprofit organizations are working to combat this issue and ensure everyone has access to the food they need. Some options include local food pantries, community meals, special holiday meals to-go, and day-of holiday meals for those missing the camaraderie of holiday gatherings. Here are a few options to consider!

THE COMMUNITY TABLE  (EAU CLAIRE)
A free, nutritious meal in a welcoming environment every day of the week. Stop by for lunch from 11:30am-1:00pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday or for dinner from 5:00pm-6:15pm Tuesday and  Friday and 3:00pm-4:00pm on Sunday.

Special holiday meals include:

• Thanksgiving Lunch: Thursday, November 24th from 11:30am-1:00pm.

• Christmas-in-a-Box: Friday, December 16th from 9:00am-2:00pm. Online reservations required at  thecommunitytable.org.

TUESDAY’S TABLE (MENOMONIE)
A weekly free meal available to everyone on Tuesday evenings from 5:00pm-6:00pm in the lower level of St. Joseph’s Church.

WEDNESDAY’S TABLE (MENOMONIE)
A weekly free meal available to everyone on Wednesday evenings from 5:00pm-6:00pm at Christ Lutheran Church.

THURSDAY’S TABLE  (MENOMONIE)
A weekly free meal available to everyone on Thursday evenings from 5:00pm-6:00pm at First Congressional United Church.

LOVE CHURCH THANKSGIVING MEAL GIVEAWAY (MENOMONIE)
Sign up to receive a free Thanksgiving meal delivered to your home on November 24th between 10:00am-5:00pm. Meals are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so register online if you’d like to receive one: wearelovechurch.churchcenter.com.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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